What's Most Important
Notes: The characters are not mine
and the story is. Originally this started as a random blurb of Gin scaring the doctor, but I
liked it so much that I decided to make a random oneshot out of it.
This is for challenge #7, Relief, at 100 Situations. Gensomaden
Saiyuki fans may recognize the line spoken at the end.
The mysterious man in black stood alone at the window of the hospital waiting room. His long blonde hair was a contrast to the dark coat he wore, and the bangs coupled with the brim of his fedora hat mostly hid his eyes from view. He looked out of place compared to the other people there---one or two families with small children, an older woman, and a man about his age who was wearing an old shirt and a beat-up pair of jeans. But he could care less about fitting in. He did not even try to.
In the reflection of the glass, he saw a doctor entering the room and everyone coming to attention, wondering who would spoken to this time. But he could see that the physician was not looking in his direction at all, so he did not even bother to wonder. After a moment he saw the man in the white coat going over to the old woman. She looked hopeful, but upon hearing whatever it was that the man had to say, her countenance dropped and the blonde could see traces of tears in her eyes. He looked away, growling under his breath.
He gripped his upper arms, glaring outside at the city lights and the pouring rain. It beat against the windows incessantly, as if mocking him, before sliding down the glass and obscuring the view. His lip curled in disgust. He hated this, all of this---the hospital, the rain, and the situation that had brought him here. He would rather be anywhere else.
To his annoyance, his partner Vodka had suddenly not been able to be contacted when they had become separated after they had completed an assignment. He had looked everywhere, and had called repeatedly on his phone, but in vain. Then he had received a call, and he had been told that Vodka, who had been going by a different alias, of course, had been found seriously injured at the side of the road. A hit-and-run was suspected, but they supposed that he also could have been overpowered and beaten. But that could not have happened easily. Vodka was vicious in physical fights, even though normally he was quite reserved and even shy. Anyone fighting against him would end up seriously hurt as well.
The hospital had called the blonde because he was the only person listed among Vodka's personal effects as someone to contact if there was trouble. It was an irritation that Vodka had been taken to a public hospital at all. Usually the injuries of the agents belonging to the Black Organization were treated at the various bases' infirmaries. This was not the first time one of them had ended up at a public hospital, but Gin always hated it when it happened. Public hospitals were such annoyances and hindrances. There was no telling what sort of odd regulations they would come up with. Gin did not even like to bother with them. Most of them were idiotic anyway.
The man narrowed green eyes of ice, wishing that he had a cigarette. He would go outside to smoke, except that he wanted to be there when they finally knew the other's condition.
He came to attention once he saw another physician enter the room. This one looked around for a moment, as if uncertain whom to go to, but then he noticed Gin. The blonde turned around when he saw the doctor approaching him, though his cold expression did not change. "Well?" he asked icily. He could already see that whatever the news was, it was not positive. It was obvious from the other man's reluctant expression and from the way he nearly shuffled, trying to prolong this conversation happening for as long as he could. Gin was not impressed.
The physician shivered slightly as he looked into those dark, foreboding eyes. He adjusted his glasses, taking a step back. "He's doing poorly," he announced in a grim tone, and he saw the blonde noticeably stiffen. Trying to ignore it, he continued. "The damage has been serious, I'm afraid. There's been internal bleeding, which we've tried to control. He lost quite a bit of blood in general, and though we secured a transfusion, I don't know whether it's been administered in time." Here he paused, nervous to even continue as he watched the other's expression twist in anger.
"What else?" Gin finally spoke when it seemed to him that the doctor was not going to finish. His eyes flashed.
The poor man struggled to keep control of his courage. He knew that this person, adorned in black, would like even less what else he had to report. He wished that this task had been given to someone else. "He's completely unresponsive," he admitted at last. "He's comatose . . . and I'll be honest with you, sir . . . it doesn't look like he'll come out of it."
Gin was not certain why, but those words pierced him in a way that he hated, and he felt a twinge of panic go through his heart. He snapped. Immediately he reached out, snatching the doctor by the front of his coat and pulling him forward, while the other remained too shocked to even struggle. "He's strong enough," the blonde growled, his tone dark and menacing. "He will come out of it." He moved forward himself, lessening the gap between them. "Where is he?"
The doctor swallowed hard, trying to look away from Gin's flashing and furious green eyes. He felt that if anyone's look could kill, this man's definitely could. His hands shaking, he reached up and grabbed Gin's wrists, trying in vain to get free. "I'm sorry, sir," he said in a near-whisper. "We're not allowing anyone except family into his room. That's hospital policy when injuries are this serious. . . ."
Gin's expression only became more murderous. Another useless regulation, and one that Gin had always hated. It did not make sense to him. As long as the person was close to the injured party, what difference should it make whether they were biologically related? He knew that there were plenty of people with so-called "family" who should not be anywhere near their hurt relatives, yet apparently this absurd rule would make it so they would be able to be there. It was ridiculous. "Then you'll be waiting for a long time," he hissed now. "His family is dead."
The physician shuddered, becoming all the more alarmed by this man's forceful and menacing personality. Who on earth was he? His eyes were so cold. The doctor, who was not that much older than Gin, had the suspicion that the blonde was a murderer. His eyes certainly indicated as much. But it only made this man all the more confused. "Who is he to you, sir?" he managed to query at last. A bead of perspiration trickled down the side of his face, and he wondered if it was wise to ask at all. But somehow he had to keep his wits about him. He could not ignore the hospital policy, not even for this man.
Briefly something flickered in Gin's eyes, but then it was gone, and it seemed that the ice only increased. "He's nothing to me," he growled. "But if you won't tell me where he is, I can easily find out from someone else." He would not let anyone in this stark hospital keep him from Vodka. He was used to getting what he wanted, and especially now, he would get it. He could care less about a rule that did not apply to him and Vodka in the first place.
The doctor's thoughts raced. Perhaps it would be better to just tell him the room number, he decided. After all, the blonde had been the only contact they had been able to find. If he was all that the other had, as seemed to be the case, then maybe it would be alright. He was growing worried as to what would happen to him if the blonde got any angrier. And the last thing he wanted was to have an uproar throughout the entire hospital over this. He had the feeling that the green-eyed man would never back down, no matter what happened.
"He's in the ICU," he admitted finally, his voice coming out raspy and grating with his nervousness. "Room 304. . . . Please, let me go! . . ."
Gin snorted, releasing the other man swiftly and nearly causing him to lose his balance and fall to the floor. "Pathetic," he muttered as he stormed down the hall, despite being grateful for the doctor's sudden lack of nerve.
It did not take Gin long to find the correct room. He encountered several people along the way, but he was pleased when they did not stop to ask him foolish questions such as if he was related to Vodka, or to tell him that he did not have permission to come into this part of the hospital. He swept past them, his coat and his hair flying out behind him as he went to the room and pushed open the door. Quickly he shut it behind him, walking forward slowly as he braced himself for what he would see.
He could handle it, whatever it was. He had seen so many graphic and disturbing sights in his short lifetime. This would just be another one. It did not matter how battered Vodka's body was, or that he had been Gin's partner for so many years. Gin did not care; it was all irrelevant. And yet, in spite of himself, he froze when he saw the other. It was not what he had expected at all.
Vodka was laying very still in the bed, his large hands placed limply on top of the covers. His sunglasses had been removed, of course, and they were on the nearby nightstand. He was wearing a dark robe, and almost looked asleep, but Gin knew that he was not. He looked so pale. . . . It was eerie, to see him like this. Vodka had never been this quiet.
The blonde growled to himself when he saw the various bruises and the bandages covering the wounds. Vodka had obviously been gravely hurt, and Gin would not stand for it. He was determined to find out what had happened to Vodka, and to properly deal with the ones who had done this. They would not get away with it. If Gin had his way, they would die in payment, especially if Vodka's life ended.
He paced around the room for a time, feeling on edge. The rain was still coming down, and when he glanced out at it, he still felt as if it was mocking him. He glowered at it, defiantly leaning on the windowsill. This entire night had been a disaster.
He hated seeing Vodka laying so helpless. It was wrong. Vodka should not be hurt. Vodka should be healthy and fine, and sitting beside Gin in the Porsche as they drove back to the base after the completion of their mission. Gin refused to consider that maybe Vodka never would be in the Porsche again, or at the base. Vodka would be fine. He would wake up.
"You look terrible," Gin muttered as he finally slumped into a chair next to the bed. He leaned back with a sigh, looking over at his unconscious comrade as he rubbed tiredly at his forehead. Then he smirked in a self-depreciating way. What was he doing? Vodka could not hear him. He was being ridiculous.
And somehow he doubted that he himself looked much better. He had already been there for hours, waiting for information on his partner's condition, and now it seemed that he would continue to be there for hours more. Vodka did not look as though he would regain consciousness anytime soon, if he would at all.
Muttering curses, he pushed the thought out of his mind. Vodka had to survive. He never stopped to wonder why he was so insistent on believing it. Perhaps he already knew, and refused to dwell on it, or perhaps he himself did not know, except subconsciously.
He never knew how long he was there, simply keeping his silent vigil. It could have been one hour, two, three, or more. His thoughts had wandered to many places, and over the memories of the many assignments he and Vodka had experienced throughout the near eight years of their partnership. He cursed his mind for reliving all of those times. He did not want to remember. Recalling the past would only make it harder to accept the present. And he had to accept it. If he did not, he would never be able to go on with his life should Vodka die.
But he did notice that Vodka's hand was jerking slightly, as if he was trying to move his fingers. Gin perked up at this, interested. Perhaps Vodka was waking up now, after all. But of course, Gin had known that Vodka would be able to. Any thoughts of him being too sick and weakened were absurd. Vodka was stronger than that.
"Vodka?" he asked then, wondering if he would get a reply. The other might still be too dazed to really be able to give an answer. Gin had heard that it often took a long time for someone to come out of a condition such as this. But since it had only happened a few hours ago, Gin was considering the thought that maybe it would not take as long. He would not think that he was hoping. Still, he could not deny the immense relief that washed over him when he saw Vodka struggle to open his eyes.
The other man blinked, feeling disoriented as he tried to comprehend what was happening and where he was. The last thing he remembered was the pain, both that he had received and that he had tried to inflict on others in self-defense. He had been alone, as far as allies were concerned, and it had been cold and dark. But now there was light---too much of it, he decided, and he wanted his sunglasses. And he also realized that now he was not alone.
"Bro?" he mumbled, focusing on the other as his vision cleared. He was somewhat surprised to see Gin, and he wondered again where they were.
Gin nodded slowly.
"What happened?" Vodka felt completely exhausted, and he doubted he would be able to stay awake very long. He also realized that he had a splitting headache. Weakly he raised a hand to rub at the spot of origin.
Gin grunted. "If you don't remember, I can't tell you," he said flatly. "You were found badly injured and unconscious at the side of the road and brought to this hospital to be treated. They didn't think you were going to wake up. They weren't even going to let me in here, even though they called to tell me about you," he muttered in annoyance. "The doctor was acting like a smartass about his rules." He crossed his arms, watching Vodka expressionlessly.
Vodka regarded him in confusion. "Rules?" he repeated. His dazed mind could not quite grasp what Gin was saying, though he did understand that apparently he was not at the base's infirmary. They would never try to keep Gin away from there. They would not dare.
Gin nodded. "About only family members being allowed in," he grunted, and then quieted.
Vodka fell silent as well, pondering over this in his weary mind. "Oh," he said finally. He could imagine how Gin had ended up there anyway, with his forceful personality. Gin would never take No for an answer. Sometimes Vodka wished that he could be as firm and strong-willed as his longtime partner. Though of course he failed to recognize his own strength.
Unseen by them both, Akemi watched with a gentle amusement from a corner of the room. "Though, I guess you didn't really break any rules, did you, Enok?" she smiled as she got up, walking past him. She stopped, laying a hand on his shoulder. "'You should never let go of what's most important to you,'" she quoted, feeling Gin freezing under her touch. "That's something you used to say. Do you remember? And when I asked you what was important to you, you just grunted." She laughed softly. "You never could talk about things like that."
Gin shivered, growling as he looked up with narrowed eyes in an attempt to find the source of the sudden cool breeze that had brushed past him. But everything seemed normal. The air conditioning unit for the room was not near Gin at all, and now he did not feel the cold air. Still, he was almost certain that he had heard vague words being whispered in his ear, words from another time in his life.
Vodka blinked at him curiously, seeing how he had stiffened. "What is it, bro?" he asked.
Gin leaned back. "Nothing," he retorted.
Never let go of what's most important to you, he mused silently. Ridiculous.